January 23, 2021
Contact: Gladys Smiley Bell, 757-727-5185 or [email protected]
Secretary, Black Caucus of the American Library Association
Press Room – via Zoom
BCALA Announces the 2021 Literary Awards Winners
The Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Inc. (BCALA) announces the winners of the 2021 BCALA Literary Awards during the virtual Midwinter Meeting of the American Library Association. The awards recognize excellence in adult fiction and nonfiction by African American authors published in 2020, including an award for Best Poetry and a citation for Outstanding Contribution to Publishing. The recipients will receive awards recognition during the 2021 virtual National Conference of African American Librarians, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
This year acknowledges two winners for the 1st Novelist Award. Everywhere You Don’t Belong: a novel by Gabriel Bump (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, a division of Workman Publishing) is dedicated in honor of Mr. Cecil Hixon, who founded the BCALA Literary Awards for adult audiences in 1992 with Dr. Alex Boyd; and Fifty Words for Rain: a novel by Asha Lemmie (Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Random House).
The Fiction category winner is The Vanishing Half: a novel by Brit Bennett (Riverhead Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House).
The Honor Books for Fiction are Blacktop Wasteland: a novel by S. A. Cosby (Flatiron Books) and Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories by Zora Neale Hurston, edited by Genevieve West (Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins).
The winner in the Nonfiction category is Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and its Urgent Lessons for Our Own by Eddie S. Glaude Jr. (Crown, an imprint of Random House).
The Honor Books for the Nonfiction category are Memorial Drive: a Daughter’s Memoir by Natasha Trethewey (ECCO, an imprint of HarperCollins) and Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson (Random House).
The winner for BCALA’s Best Poetry Award is African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle & Song edited by Kevin Young (The Library of America).
The Honor Book for Best Poetry is We Want Our Bodies Back: poems by jessica Care moore (Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins).
The BCALA Literary Awards Committee presents the Outstanding Contribution to Publishing Citation to Overground Railroad: the Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America by Candacy Taylor (Abrams Press).
Members of the BCALA Literary Awards Jury are: Gladys Smiley Bell (Chair), Hampton University, Hampton, VA; Tiffany A. Duck, Suffolk Public Library, Suffolk, VA;; Dana Gray Evans, Hampton University, Hampton, VA; Ritchie A. Momon, Mid-Continent Public Library, Independence, MO; and John Page, Retired, Washington, D.C.; Jamar Rahming, Wilmington, DE; and Deimosa Webber-Bey, New York, NY.